Fresh Mint Chip Ice Cream is made with real mint leaves and dark chocolate ~ summer eating doesn’t get any better! The zippy flavor of the fresh mint paired with an extra quantity of dark chocolate makes this the best mint chip ice cream I’ve ever tasted.
The minute the weather starts to warm up I start dreaming about ice cream flavors. My youngest daughter and I made our first trip of the season to our favorite ice cream shop the other night after dinner, I got Bourbon & Coffee, she got Chocolate Gooey Brownie, and I’ll have fabulous ice cream flavors swirling around in my brain from now until the end of August, when I’ll finally give it a rest until the next season.
This fresh mint chip ice cream is fancy ice cream shop quality made right in your own kitchen.
Mint chip ice cream made with fresh mint tastes very different from ice cream made with peppermint extract or other flavorings. I was surprised at how little mint I needed for this recipe–one good sized handful of mint leaves, steeped for 2 hours in hot cream was all it took to give a really nice mint flavor. The cooling sensation of fresh mint makes this flavor one of the most refreshing ever. If you’re a mint chocolate chip lover (and aren’t we all?) this is going to rock your world.
You can pluck fresh mint leaves from your garden or get them in the herb section of your supermarket. If you have any patch of dirt available, mint grows like a weed, as long as it gets enough water. I used a combination of about half spearmint and half peppermint, both of which I have growing in little containers in my garden. The flavor is so refreshing and bears very little resemblance to freezer aisle mint ice cream.
The chocolate is melted with a bit of oil and then drizzled into the ice cream during the last couple minutes of churning, which gives it that delicate, almost lacy effect. No hard, frozen chunks of chocolate to bite into, but lots of chocolate flavor!
The technique, if you’re curious is called stracciatella, or shards in Italian, and beautifully flecked stracciatella is one of the most popular gelato flavors in Italy.
Tips for Growing Mint in Containers ~
You don’t need a big yard to grow your own fresh herbs–lots of herbs grow very well in containers. Mint is an especially good choice for container gardening because it tends to spread out of control in the garden.
- There are lots of varieties of mint to choose from these days. Spearmint is what you normally find at the grocery store, and is what you most commonly think of when you think of classic “mint” flavor. You can also get peppermint, which has a slightly different flavor that you’ll recognize as the minty flavor that is often used to flavor desserts. You can even buy chocolate mint, with the chocolate flavor built right in!
- Mint likes sun, but can take some shade, so take advantage of the places in your garden or on your patio that get a bit of shade during the day.
- Harvest mint sprigs regularly by pinching off the top 1/3 or so of a stem. This will encourage more growth. Don’t take more than about 1/3 of the plant at a time.
- Water regularly. Mint plants like water, and containers can dry out quickly on hot summer days.
- Want to grow your mint indoors? You can, check out these tips.
Which ice cream machine do I recommend?
I get asked all the time about what machine I use. I use and recommend Cuisinart. I’ve had my machine for years without any issues, I think because there are no fussy electronic parts to break down ~ it’s a simple motor that turns the freezer bowl for churning the ice cream and it works quickly and perfectly every time.
- The machine I use, and it’s the base model. It works great for ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbets, and makes all of them in about 2o minutes. Click HERE or click on the image for more info.
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Recipe lightly adapted from Serious Eats
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups half and half
- 1 large handful fresh mint leaves (about 1 cup, lightly packed)
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 ounces dark chocolate
- 2 teaspoons neutral oil (canola, sunflower)
- Heat the cream and half and half in a saucepan until just simmering.
- Remove from the heat, add the mint leaves, cover and let steep for 2 hours.
- Whisk the egg yolks and the sugar and set aside.
- Strain the mint leaves out of the cream, pour back into the saucepan, and add the egg yolk mixture.
- Place back on the stove and heat over low-medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
- Strain again to remove any bits of cooked egg yolk, and chill thoroughly (preferably overnight).
- Churn according to your ice cream maker's instructions.
- While the ice cream is churning, melt the dark chocolate with the oil in the microwave or in a double boiler and mix until it is smooth.
- Pour the chocolate in a thin stream over the ice cream when it is almost done churning, you can break up any large pieces of chocolate that form with a spoon.
- Place in a freezer safe container and freeze for at least a few hours before serving.
Make it your own ~
- Make it greener if you’re one of those who loves that green color of the store bought stuff, add a drop or two of green food coloring.
- Make it mintier ~ tear and crush the mint leaves as you add them to the hot cream, this will release more of the essential oils.
- Make it lighter ~ use half heavy cream and half whole milk.
- Make it without the fresh mint ~ use mint extract. The amount will depend on the brand you are using, start with 1/2 teaspoon and add more to taste.